Analysis: Patient Binh Duong leave it late to progress
Bacolod City: The remaining two places in the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal semi-finals were decided earlier in the week and arguably the biggest story came from the Philippines, where Vietnam’s Becamex Binh Duong struck late to defeat Ceres Negros 1-0 and join their opponents in the knockout rounds.
With the Group G game scoreless and the clock ticking down, Binh Duong were heading for elimination until Brazilian forward Wander Luiz struck a goal of the tournament contender from 40 yards that looped ove goalkeeper Roland Muller to secure their place in the next round.
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Going into the game as the tournament’s leading scorer on nine goals, and having scored a hat-trick in Vietnam when the sides met on Matchday Two, Ceres striker Bienvenido Maranon was the danger man Binh Duong needed to keep quiet if they were gain the result they needed.
The Spanish striker had netted in every game prior to Wednesday’s clash, with Ceres claiming maximum points, but the visitors were able to cut off his supply line to nullify his threat as, for once, Maranon’s name did not appear on the scoresheet.
Maranon registered just one shot on goal – his lowest in the group stage and seven fewer than he managed in the first meeting between the sides – and touched the ball just twice in the Binh Duong penalty area, compared to 10 times when the sides faced off in Vietnam.
While Maranon did see his fair share of the ball, his touchmap above shows that he was largely forced into non-dangerous areas as Becamex executed their defensive game plan to perfection to ensure the man most capable of sealing their elimination was kept on the periphery.
It’s often the case that a visiting team enjoys less of the ball than the home side, but with just under 34 percent of possession, Binh Duong registered their lowest percentage of the tournament so far as they were happy to allow their hosts pass among themselves and wait for an opportunity to present itself.
Indeed, Ceres’ total of 549 passes (491 successful) was almost double the 278 (205 successful) Binh Duong managed across the 90 minutes. That defenders Carli de Murga (78) and Super (75) and deep-lying midfielder Tanton Miguel (78) recorded by some distance the highest number of passes on the pitch says much about where the hosts had the ball.
And while Ceres enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, it was the visitors who were the biggest threat, particularly after the interval as they began to push for the all-important goal that would seal their passage to the next phase.
In the first half, both sides managed four shots on goal, one of which was a missed penalty from the visitors’ Nguyen Anh Duc. Binh Duong then recorded a further 10 after the restart compared to the hosts’ four (full game shown above), yet as the game moved into its latter stages it appeared they were crashing out.
But when it mattered most, their joint-top scorer going into the game, Luiz, stepped up with a moment of inspiration that will live long in the memory as the Brazilian stunned those inside Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium with an audacious effort.
The Brazilian harried and then dispossessed substitute Joshua Dutosme down the right flank before looking up and clipping the ball over Muller, who was stranded well off his line and unable to recover.
His admission after the game that early in the contest he had spotted that Muller had a tendency to stray off his line early and that he had been waiting for that precise opportunity only adds to the brilliance of the 27-year-old’s goal.
Binh Duong will now look forward to the knockout rounds with confidence having beaten the ASEAN region’s best-performing team – in terms of points – in the group stage. Indonesia’s PSM Makassar await for what is sure to be another intriguing match-up.
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